One Photo Focus – October

This month’s Image for One Photo Focus is a lovely harbor shot by Michelle Lunato, I played around with various different styles and effects mostly in Light Room, before combining a few, into my final favorite. Essentially it is an Orton Effect, plus a overlay pattern and some adjustment layers. I also cleaned up the sky a little and lightly brushed in some colour to the sky. I also added more sparkles to the water line, dulled the sun burst down a touch and added a lens flare to compensate. I wanted an aged, almost painted look, without using any oil painting or water colour effects.

Below is a few of the other version I came up with;

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Including another Orton Effect, a purple sunset effect and dark sepia and a HDR effect, early morning and evening

Here is the original image

Michelle Lunato October One Photo Focus

Michelle Lunato October One Photo Focus

Why do I use RAW file format?

Simply the best explanation of the benefits of shooting in RAW.

Learning to See Light

A lot has changed in technology in the last few years since I took up photography – Lightroom 3 had just been released and it was a significant improvement on the previous version.  Once I got my hands on a copy, and a book to learn how to use it, I immediately saw the benefit in shooting in RAW format.

A picture says a thousand words and the slideshow above is a great example – one image is a tiger cub playing at Melbourne zoo taken in 2010.  Its really dark and hard to see any details and back when I tried to edit it, both my skills and the software weren’t quite up to the task.  So I never bothered with working on these images.

Cue 2015 and Lightroom 6 is released.  Plus I have had many more years experienced working with the software and have invested time proper…

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OWPC – Smog

This week’s One Word Photo Challenge is Smog. You would think living as close as I do to a major city, there would be plenty of smog, and you would be right………..normally. I can frequently see it in the distance, a dirty brown haze towards to city, on my way to work. However at the moment, due to weather, prevailing winds, rain? We don’t seem to have much. That meant I had to get creative.

So this is Bolte Bridge in Melbourne, I took one image into Nik Efex and added a graduated fog filter (but from the top down, not bottom up), then I added a slight grey/brown mucky tinge to it. Kind of looks like a smog haze around the bridge. Possible a little too much for Melbourne, we never get it this bad.


Bolte Bridge with Smog Haze


Bolte Bridge without Smog Haze

The other image is from the same day, slightly different angle and of course no smog.


Spring Outings – Tesselaar’s Tulip Festival

Every year it happens, Spring arrives and I think I must visit the Tulip Festival; I have not been in such a long time. Then by the time I get around to it, it’s all over. The Festival is only on for one month, every year; this year I finally went and I was not disappointed. This is an iconic Melbourne institution which has been running every year since 1954.

Arriving early one Saturday morning with a friend, we had driven up to Silvan in the Dandenong Ranges with a little fog greeting us, the sun just breaking through. There was not a cloud in the sky, it was crisp with a promise of some warmth later in the morning.

There were fields of Tulips; every colour, shape and size I could think of and then more. There is more than just tulips, every week they have a slightly different festival, celebrating unique cultures, this weekend was primarily a Dutch Weekend, they also celebrate Turkish and Irish Weekend as well, plus a Jazz and Wine and a Children’s Weekend. There are market stalls, clog, clothing, food (so much food!), folk dancing, artwork, wood crafts, costumes, music. And of course you can buy tulips: cut ones, bulbs, pre planted bulbs, pots full of them, even hand made wooden ones. Many people came loaded with picnic baskets and lounge around on the extensive lawns amid the explosion of colour, listening to music and watch the festivities unfold, or wander through the seemingly endless offering of food from all over the world to sample and buy. It was a lot of fun. And such glorious spring sunshine, I could not have asked for a better day.

They have over 500,000 tulips planted and 120 different varieties available to view, in every shade of colour you could possibly think of, and varying sizes and shapes, long rows of them amongst fields of green. Row after row of colour, did you know that tulips originated in Turkey? I had no idea……..apparently they were only available in Brown! It was the Dutch who created the colours & varieties we have today. Apparently after looking at the images I took I am particularly drawn to the red varieties!

For more information on dates, times etc, please visit the Tesselaar web site. Til next time, happy snapping…..

– Julz

Tuesday’s Tales from the shoot – Dirty Sensor

Last weekend we had a glorious weekend, I got to spend most of it with my camera, Moth and some friends; however when I got home and ran the images through Lightroom, I saw this! EEEEEKKKKK, seriously folks have a good look at the sky in both images. It is NOT a pretty sight. Maybe it’s just the lenses? Maybe it’s just the filters? Oh No I cleaned them all and still got THIS!!!!

The dreaded dirty sensor, how did it suddenly get so bad? I know I broke a few commandments, I changed lenses at the beach, with water, sand and elements and probably not even facing down to boot. But I have done it before. I checked and re checked my lenses and filters and yes, they were guilty of some of the spots, but not all! What have I done? How was I going to fix this?

So I jumped online, just wipe it with a damp cotton bud one YouTube clip said, DON’T EVER DO THAT! said another. Just put the mirror up and blow with you mouth said another clip, of course the next said to never do it!? So what do you do? I know that damaging the sensor is pretty much the end of my camera, so I kept hunting til I found a few places that seemed reputable and watched their videos.


First I assembled my gear, I have a Lenspen kit with a Hurricane Blower, cleaning solution, micro fiber cloth, fine dust brush, my Nikon D 7100 Manual. I meticulously cleaned every filter and lens (both ends); first removed any possible debris with the dust brush, then cleaned with the cleaning fluid and cloth, then removed all lint again with dust brush. Then with the Lenspen I cleaned entire surface of each lens.

With the camera turned off I removed the Lens tipped the camera, lens connection facing down (well you don’t wont to dislodge any more dirt or dust IN the camera) and with the Hurricane blower gave the mirror a few good blows of air to remove anything. Then the next really scary part! I turned the camera on, and lifted the mirror up! I gently gave the sensor a quick burst of air, then put the mirror down. [Please consult your manual for your camera on how to do this].

I then replaced a lens and took a few pictures to check; nope! spots still there, so I repeated the last part again. Took a few more photos, nope still one little spot! Short of taking it in for cleaning I thought I might try the In camera sensor cleaning which my camera has [Sorry I do not know if this is available on all cameras or not, I found it in the Tools Section in my main menu]. I did this a few times and Bingo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All clean again! Yay. I must admit with a few weddings coming up I was starting to panic!! I don’t want to admit how long I sat in PS cloning or using the spot healing brush to fix the images from last weekend, some of them I have pretty much given up on they are so bad. Below is one I persisted with, was worth it right?

Rye & Blairgowrie Back Beach

Rye & Blairgowrie Back Beach

Don’t forget, please NEVER touch your sensor, if you are brave, have a go to clean, as above; but if in doubt, please take it to someone who knows what they are doing – I was lucky!

So have I learned my lesson? Probably not, when I want to change a lens, I will, at least now I know how to clean my camera!

Til next time, happy snapping…….


30 Day Photo Challenge – Day 1 Self Portrait

Oh Dear, I have found another 30 day challenge, thanks Reflections for my Soul, they can be a struggle, but so much fun! This one is a Facebook/ Blog challenge and it seems to have started yesterday? Anyway I will play catch up, I have a little free time it seems between shoots! lol

So today is Self Portrait Day – I am cheating today, sorry, but I just hate the whole self portrait thing…… this is as good as it gets. The challenge is supposed to take a more flattering self portrait in natural light or under flash. I know one day I will have to bit the bullet, but NOT today!

Broken Mirror

Broken Mirror